The provision of an ordained ministry, to serve the local congregation in the name of Christ and the universal Church, is one of the responsibilities of the apostolic Church. These services provide for the ordination of such ministry.
The Ordination Liturgies follow a common pattern and are based on a common understanding of ministry. In each service of ordination the words used at the introduction to the presentation of the candidates acknowledge that all Christians have a ministry by virtue of their baptism, and that some members of the baptised community are also called and empowered to fulfil an ordained ministry, and to enable the total mission of the Church.
Within the ordained ministry there are three orders: deacons, priests (also called presbyters) and bishops. Each order is equally important; yet those in the various orders differ in the tasks they do on behalf of the whole Church. The description of these tasks is set out at The Presentation and The Commitment.
The assent of the people that the candidate should be ordained is an integral part of the service.
The set readings highlight the biblical understanding of ministry, and in the sermon the preacher proclaims the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to provide the appropriate gifts of ministry.
In The Commitment, the candidates affirm their standard of faith and their willingness to minister within the discipline and authority of the Church. They express their spiritual lifestyle and their dependence on God for their gifts of ministry.
The Invocation is followed by The Ordination.
The whole ordination is set within a Liturgy of the Eucharist, using any of the authorised forms.
These services, allowing for an appropriate definition of the role of each order in ordained ministry, affirm the understanding of the Church that all ministry has its source in Christ's ministry, and is part of the response to the command of Christ to the Church to fulfil its apostolic mission.